Oh, the NBA. Home of fantastic players, amazing fans, and a beautiful game. But that is not the only thing the NBA is known for. The NBA is also known for having some of the most hilarious personalities in sports. We have Shaquille O’Neal, who was already making people roll on the floor laughing while he was playing, and now has somehow upped his game when he became an announcer. We have guys like Kenny Smith doing the same. Meanwhile, we have young guns like Joel Embiid dominating the social media game, and the list goes on and on.
However, while a lot of NBA players try to be funny on purpose, more often than not they find themselves as victims of some of the most embarrassing pictures in all of sports. That is just the kind of game basketball is. The game is not supposed to be watched frame by frame. If you watched a basketball game in slow-motion and stopped to look at every frame, you would see some disturbing and embarrassing things. That is just a fact and something that we are very keen on sharing with you. These guys have made boatloads of money, so we are fairly certain that they can take a hit or two in us showing you, the fans, some of the most embarrassing pictures these NBA players and personalities had to face on the Internet. So, without any more delaying, sit back and relax because here are 20 of the most embarrassing pictures these NBA players want you to forget.
20 Ice Man
When people say Kawhi Leonard doesn’t have any emotions, most fans don’t take it literally. Well, here is the picture to prove that those people mean that, literally. A slam dunk is the highest and most emotional part of a basketball game, aside from a game-winning three. Seriously, you will not find another picture of an NBA player dunking without showing some flare and getting pumped up while smashing the ball into the rim. It simply doesn’t happen. That is unless we are talking about Kawhi Leonard.
The man is the real-life equivalent of the Night King from Game of Thrones. We are tired of hearing the jokes about how Kawhi doesn’t laugh and stuff like that. But to pull off a dunk while showing no emotion, like he’s doing right here, this dude is not human.
19 Mamba Mode Off
Hey, even the greatest players can turn off every once in a while. For two decades we watched Kobe Bryant play basketball at a level that few will ever be able to emulate. Still, we gotta give the Mamba a break every now and then. The guy cannot be on kill mode at every second of every game, and this is clearly one time in which mamba mode was off.
This is the perfect example of a play in which the man who usually has the killer instinct is scared, or he is just yelling at someone to help defend Jason Williams. Seriously, this picture gets us every time. Seeing Kobe in a state like this is nothing short of astounding. Come on, the guy is supposed to be a legend, and here he looks Shorty from Scary Movie.
18 Almost There
Basketball is a game for tall people. Or, that is what guys who don’t want you to start playing will say when you are a kid. If there is one thing these past few decades have proven to us, it is that little guys can ball. Nate Robinson won a few dunk contests, Isaiah Thomas was widely regarded as one of the best players during his time in the league, and the list goes on and on. But one interesting aspect about the little guys who excel in the NBA is that they have crazy hops.
And no picture has ever proven that more accurate than this hilarious photo of one of the tallest and one of the smallest players in NBA history. Here we have 7’6” Manute Bol, posing next to 5’3” Muggsy Bogues.
17 No Chill Sam
Sam Cassell has and always will be a timeless figure of the NBA. Be it for his looks or for his skill on the court, Cassell was always an amazing conversation topic. And, we cannot enforce this enough, we want to believe that this is a Photoshopped picture. Because if it is not, this has to be the greatest photo ever taken in the history of basketball.
And even if it is Photoshopped, this picture is too funny. We would feel guilty if we didn't show it to you. While most guys try to get out of the way when they are getting dunked on, our buddy Sam over there decided it was time to tuck in his shirt. Or was he doing something else? We don’t know, that smile is just priceless though.
Dribbling stereotypes and landing on our list, we have arguably the greatest New York Knick of all time. At least, that is what most people would think if they only watched Jeremy Lin play during the period that became known around the NBA and the world as Linsanity.
If it were just for the picture of Lin, this would not be enough to make into this list. But since it was taken during an NBA game and a fan added the caption of a lifetime, breaking down the stereotype while making an NBA joke with Lin, we had to find a spot for it. Still, this is kind of an embarrassing picture for Lin. It is embarrassing because he was never the same again after Linsanity ended.
15 The Greatest
If you ever wondered what the room of one of the all-time great athletes in the history of the world would look like in college, here is your answer. Now, while he was all business on the court, Michael Jordan just happens to be one of the most fun guys outside of it. He might not like to show it in public, but everyone who has ever gone out with Jordan has said they had the time of their life.
And honestly, you can tell that from his championship pictures. Be it smoking cigars next to the trophy or going to other sporting events, this guy was the greatest at everything he did (except being a GM). Nevertheless, we don’t think cigar Michael would be too keen on this picture of college Michael making the rounds on the Internet.
What does greatness taste like? Well, it probably doesn’t taste like Yao Ming’s armpit. Sorry, it is kind of hard to talk smack about a guy like Yao Ming. Whether or not we believe that most of his All-Star appearances were undeserved and he only got there because there are literally billions of people in China, and all of those who played basketball or liked the game voted for him to be an All-Star starter. The guy does represent the largest population on Earth, and he was the one to take the basketball bug to China.
He is an important figure in the sport, but we still don’t think that is enough for you to want to take a lick out of his armpit. Come on man that is just disgusting.
13 The King
Hey, stop laughing! Who are you to laugh at the King? LOL. Sorry, we were laughing too. This is too funny. But hey, we can’t really blame LeBron for taking a stroll through booger town every once in a while. Seriously, who knows how packed it was in there? Sometimes you just have to clear the way so you can breathe better. After all, this guy was probably playing more than 40 minutes a night when that picture was taken. Now, this would be an entirely different story if we had a picture like that from today’s LeBron.
If we saw today’s LeBron picking his nose during a rest game, that would be unforgivable. If your nose is all stuffy and stuff from running and sweating, we can forgive that, but if you’re sitting on the sideline and resting in the middle of the season, that is just gross.
12 Swaggy P
This is an NBA play that became a legend around the league and among its many fans. Ever since Gilbert Arenas hit one of the most memorable game-winners in the history of basketball, when he immediately turned to celebrate after shooting without even looking to see if the ball would go in, players around the Association have been trying to mimic that legendary moment.
The only problem is that there are not that many guys who can pull off the ballsy move that Gilbert did when he played for the Wizards. The moment that this notion became popular was when Nick Young tried to imitate Arenas when he played for the Lakers. The only problem is that Young actually missed the shot. His failed celebration immediately became a thing of legend in the NBA.
11 The MVP
Hey, when you are the reigning defending MVP, you can do whatever the hell you want. So what if Russell wanted to open his mouth that wide on the sidelines? If you watched Oklahoma City play with him on the bench last season, you would also want to take a nap whenever that happened. People think this may happen more often than it does, but it is hard for a team to be as bad as the Thunder were when Westbrook was on the bench last season. The only stat people would need to check to agree that Westbrook should have been the most valuable player of 2016-17 is the plus-minus of his team with him on the court and compare it to the same statistic while he is off the court.
10 Low Blow
Everyone knows Draymond Green seems to have something to prove every time he is out on the court. This guy likes trash talking to anyone, from the opposing center to the fan cursing at him behind the bench; no one is safe from the Draymond effect. Nevertheless, no player in the NBA has felt the wrath of Draymond Green as much as Steven Adams.
We say that because the Golden State Warriors player seemed to have a bone to pick with Adams a few seasons ago during the playoffs. The problem is that Green did not seem too keen on solving things with the basketball, so he just went ahead and kicked Adams in the crotch. That caused a whole debate about whether he did it on purpose or not, and then just a few games later Draymond put an end to the controversy and kicked Adams in the crotch again.
9 The Fall
Shaquille O’Neal might not be a player anymore, but the Big Diesel is still very much a part of the NBA, so we thought it would be okay to count one of his most hilarious moments as an analyst for TNT. This didn’t happen that long ago, when Shaq stood up from the table and was running to do something in the studio and, suddenly, lost his footing.
Now, this would have been just funny if he was a regular person, but we have to remember that this is a 7’1” 325-pound behemoth of a man. And because of his size, any fall that concerns Shaquille O’Neal would be hilarious in its own right. Put on the suit and the entire situation around it, and this is one of the most embarrassing and hilarious pictures to come out of anything related to the NBA.
8 Oh Lance
After decades of watching sports, we thought we had seen almost everything there was to be seen when it comes to ways players find to try and undermine their opponent’s concentration in the game. That is until Lance Stephenson decided to blow into LeBron James’s ear. Seriously, you cannot get any more creative than that. The only people more surprised than LeBron when he realized what was happening were literally everyone around the world who was watching the game. This was almost too funny. How the hell does the guy come up with that? Was Lance just looking at LeBron’s is ear and thought to himself, “if I blow his ear maybe he will miss the next jump shot?” Either way, that was the very moment in which Lance Stephenson became an immortal part of the NBA.
7 The Worst Job in the World
No one says this very often, but being an NBA referee has to be one of the hardest, and perhaps one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. We are sure the pay is okay, and you get to interact with some of the greatest athletes in the world, but all of those perks just go down the drain as soon as a fight breaks out. We don’t know how, but somehow these puny little referees always try to get in the way of those massive players whenever a fight starts breaking out in the middle of the court.
There are dangerous jobs out there, but we don’t know many that include a bunch of seven-footers swinging punches at you. For example, here we see a brave referee in a desperate attempt to control Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon.
You know, we have heard more than once that you need to have a hunger to play the game of basketball. Of course, most of the time we just assume that means you need the desire to win and to work harder than anyone else. Well, here it seems that hunger literally means hunger.
So let’s break this picture down. We have a young Kevin Love with his mouth open, about to chomp off a piece of Adam Morrison’s elbow. Now we are quite sure that the elbow would just be a consequence because this dude is clearly hungry for the ball. Meanwhile, the other two just look terrified and disgusted at whatever Love thought was appealing about this particular ball. The bottom line is that the battle for rebounds can get quite nasty.
5 That Stare Though
At first glance, this might just seem like one of the funniest pictures in the history of the NBA, which it probably is. Come on, it is already funny imagining the interactions between the players and the trainers who give them massages and stuff like that. But for one of them to be caught in a picture staring at a player like Celtics' strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo was when stretching Sam Cassell, is just golden.
But for those who don’t know, Bryan Doo is actually quite an impressive guy. For example, back in 2011, the former Celtics' strength coach actually saved a man’s life after a pickup game. It was during a water break that one of the guys at the game collapsed and his heart stopped. Doo picked up the defibrillator and restarted the man’s heart, saving his life.
4 The Battle in the Paint
We have already established that the paint is not a place for the weak of heart. Inside that small area, is where the most gruesome and vicious plays in basketball happen. The battle for rebounds is nothing short of terrifying. No, this is nothing like banging elbows with a 56-year-old man at your rec league to fight for rebounds. These are massive athletes using mountains of muscle to grab a tiny orange ball.
Still, rebounds are not the only battle that happens inside the paint. Every once in a while, a guard will try to drive his way in there and reach the rim. The only problem is that the big guys in there don’t really like anyone in their territory. And in the paint, everything is valid, even poking your opponent’s nose. Talk about a perfectly timed picture.
3 What is Goning On Here?
Things are not always as they seem. Or at least that’s what we hope is the case here. Back in 2010, Baron Davis was still an NBA player, and Al Jefferson was playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both of them have come a long way since then, but this picture remains one of the most embarrassing shots of either of their careers.
Some photographers just have a gift for catching players in some of the most inopportune moments in a game. These guys are obviously battling for control of the ball, which happens literally every game, but it is not always that you see people fighting for possession in a position like this one. Their facial expressions also don’t help to make this picture any less embarrassing.
2 Shaq Attack
This glorious Shaq moment can't really be captured in a single frame, so if you want to get the full context, here's a short video of it. We are sure the great majority of NBA fans out there remember, and probably will never forget, this most embarrassing and hilarious of NBA moments. It is not unusual to see a player flying into the stands trying to save a loose ball. That is just a hustle play, something that coaches encourage and that fans love to see. The thing is that, usually, those players fall on top of people in the stands when they try to save loose balls. And when it comes to Shaquille O’Neal, you do not want to be the person he’s going to fall on top of.
At least, that was the mentality of all of his Phoenix Suns teammates when the Big Diesel headed their way to save a loose ball.
1 The Greatest
Literally everyone knew this was coming. The number one spot on our list of embarrassing pictures that NBA players want to forget had to go to the greatest player of all time. Michael Jordan did not only give us great basketball. He wasn’t just the greatest champion. He also gave us the greatest meme in the history of sports.
No meme in sports history has been as successful as the crying Jordan meme. Even the event that inspired this facial expression that will test the ravages of time was a legendary event. This happened during Jordan’s Hall of Fame speech. How crazy is that? Of course this guy was going to cry. Everyone cried when he said he was going to retire. But still, no one thought that the face he would make would be this funny.